A multi-bill package that gives children access to healthy school breakfasts and lunches from Jersey grown products was signed into law today. Assembly Republicans Ron Dancer, Parker Space and Alison McHose sponsored the bills that enhance the state’s successful “Farm to School” program. The program is administered by the Dept. of Agriculture and benefits students, food banks and New Jersey’s farmers.
“We are proud of our farmers and the fresh food they produce. This helps local schools and farmers find each other,” said Dancer. “Working with schools is a real boost for local farms and we love seeing kids eat fresh fruit and vegetables. We should make every possible effort to maximize nutritious, locally produced foods for students and improve the bottom line of our farmers.”
“‘Farm to School’ helps grow the local economy and preserve farmland,” said Space, R-Sussex, Warren and Morris. “It helps schools offer more fresh fruits and vegetables in their cafeterias and students to appreciate eating fresh, New Jersey grown produce. I hope schools will seriously consider the value of our home-grown products.
“New Jersey farmers supply the best quality products in the country,” said McHose, R-Sussex, Warren and Morris. “Good nutrition is a key to academic success. This program will also help address another issue concerning our youth which is childhood obesity.”
The “Farm to School” package signed today:
- A-2641 provides for voluntary contributions by taxpayers on gross income tax returns to support the “Farm to School” and “School Gardens” programs.
- A-2642 allows the Secretary of Agriculture to solicit and accept private and public money to support the state’s “Farm to School” program.
- A-2643 establishes the “Best in New Jersey ‘Farm to School’ Awards Program,” to annually recognize the outstanding “Farm to School” programs implemented by a school or school district.
- A-2644 creates a website clearinghouse connecting schools, school districts, food banks and farmers.
- A-156 requires the Dept. of Agriculture to post on the homepage of its website a hyperlink that provides visitors with direct access to the “New Jersey Farm to School” program.
Additional sponsors of the bipartisan legislation include: Assembly Democrats Robert Andrzeczak, Gilbert “Whip” Wilson, and Celeste Riley.